SUMNER — Daniel Perron, chairman of the Industrial Wind Ordinance Committee, opened Thursday night's informational meeting with comments on the panel's work.
“IWOC members are all committed and are in accord to doing the will of the people in providing an industrial wind ordinance for the town,” he said.
The town was approached this year with an informal proposal by Clear Sky Energy LLC of Barnstable, Mass., to erect five wind turbines on Spruce Hills, which includes, Mount Tom in the southwest area of town off Decoster Road.
Perron, who is also chairman of the Planning Board said, “When we were approached by Clear Sky Energy, we realized the town was vulnerable against industrial wind without an ordinance.
“A volunteer citizens committee was formed to study the past, present and future of wind power and to weigh all factors in writing an ordinance. Sub committees were formed to study all aspects of wind energy,” he said.
A PowerPoint presentation was given by Clear Sky Energy president and Chief Executive Officer Joseph A. Santolucito.
“Our vision is to deliver responsible wind energy and to be respectful to the environment and rights of the neighbors, he said.”
In response to questions about turbine noise causing health problems, Santolucito said an expert panel reviewed sound from wind turbines and determined there was no evidence that sounds or sub-audible vibrations had any adverse physiological effects. He said wind turbines are getting quieter with new blade designs.
He said that a good ordinance was needed to address all topics of concern. There is also a need to review studies or facts versus opinions, take field trips to energy projects and keep the public involved through communications, he said.
Economic benefits for Sumner would be temporary construction jobs, a community benefit fund and developers in Maine selling power directly to the consumer at a discount from retail rates.
James Longacre, vice president of Clear Sky Energy, said the proposed project on Spruce Hills ridge could create $200,000 to $300,00 per year in tax revenues for the town. He said Sumner could use the funds to lower taxes.
Wind energy facts presented by Santolucito were:
* There are 41,400 megawatts of wind power installed in the United States as of this year, enough power to supply 10 million homes.
* 1 megawatt provides enough power for 225 to 300 average households.
* Wind energy generates tens of thousands of jobs.
* Wind projects boost local tax bases.
Bruce Metrick, project engineering manager from Cianbro Corp. of Pittsfield, showed slides of wind energy and electrical distribution projects the company has done in Maine and other states.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection sound standards for wind turbine noise are a maximum of 45 decibels at night and 55 decibels during the day, it was stated.
Longacre said the proposed setback of 1,500 feet from wind turbines to any residence will safely meet the sound standards.